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Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copycat)

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This Zuppa Toscana soup recipe (inspired by The Olive Garden) is quick and easy to make, naturally gluten-free, and SO comforting and delicious! Stovetop, slow cooker and Instant Pot (pressure cooker) instructions included below.

Learn how to make this favorite Olive Garden soup on the stovetop or in the slow cooker! This Zuppa Toscana recipe is super easy to make, naturally gluten-free, and full of the most delicious zesty, creamy flavors. So grab some Italian sausage, kale, potatoes, bacon, Parmesan, and garlic, and make it happen! Crock-pot instructions also included.

Somehow, in all my 27 long years of life, I was never introduced to The Olive Garden’s famous “Zuppa Toscana” soup — until this week.

One of my good friends lives right by the OG, and suggested we pop over for their unlimited soup/salad lunch on our day off. And then she insisted — as I was about to order the minestrone — that I try the creamy zuppa instead. I actually really like a good minestrone, but decided to take her word for it. And oh my goodness, I’m so glad I did.

This soup is the best!!!

(And dare I say, a wee bit dangerous on the “unlimited” menu, ha.)

Seriously, I couldn’t get enough of it. So of course I had to come home and try making a batch for myself. Turns out, it’s incredibly easy to make at home, easy to lighten up a wee bit (I used half and half instead of traditional heavy cream, and also added in extra kale), and it’s SO comforting and delicious. You’ve gotta try it.

Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Learn how to make this favorite Olive Garden soup on the stovetop or in the slow cooker! This Zuppa Toscana recipe is super easy to make, naturally gluten-free, and full of the most delicious zesty, creamy flavors. So grab some Italian sausage, kale, potatoes, bacon, Parmesan, and garlic, and make it happen! Crock-pot instructions also included.

Learn how to make this favorite Olive Garden soup on the stovetop or in the slow cooker! This Zuppa Toscana recipe is super easy to make, naturally gluten-free, and full of the most delicious zesty, creamy flavors. So grab some Italian sausage, kale, potatoes, bacon, Parmesan, and garlic, and make it happen! Crock-pot instructions also included.

This recipe includes affiliate links.

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Zuppa Toscana Recipe

Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copycat)

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

This Zuppa Toscana recipe (inspired by the classic dish at The Olive Garden) is easy to make, full of the most delicious zesty Italian flavors, and it’s so cozy and comforting!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage (I recommend spicy)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
  • 5 to 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 to 3 cups chopped fresh kale
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 6 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions

  1. Cook sausage in a large stockpot over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through, breaking the sausage into small pieces as it cooks. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked sausage to a separate plate, reserving 1 tablespoon grease in the stockpot for later*, and discarding the excess grease.  (I actually like to briefly rinse my cooked sausage in a strainer to remove even more excess grease.)  Set aside.
  2. Add onions to the stockpot (with the grease), and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic, and sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.  Add the potatoes, chicken stock, and cooked sausage, and continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.  Stir in the kale and cream, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve warm, garnished with the bacon bits.

Notes

Slow Cooker Version:

  1. Cook sausage in a large stockpot over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through, breaking the sausage into small pieces as it cooks. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked sausage to a separate plate.  (I actually like to briefly rinse my cooked sausage in a strainer to remove even more excess grease.)  Set aside.
  2. Add cooked sausage, garlic, onion, potatoes, and chicken stock to a slow cooker, and stir to combine.  Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, or on high heat for 3-4 hours, until the potatoes are tender.  Stir in the kale and cream, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve warm, garnished with the bacon bits.

Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Version:

  1. Press the “Sauté” button on your Instant Pot.  Add the Italian sausage, and sauté until browned and cooked through, breaking the sausage into small pieces as it cooks.  Press “Cancel” on the Instant Pot. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked sausage to a separate plate, and drain and discard the excess grease in the Instant Pot.  (I actually like to briefly rinse my cooked sausage in a strainer to remove even more excess grease.)
  2. Add cooked sausage, garlic, onion, potatoes, and chicken stock to the bowl of the Instant Pot, and stir to combine.
  3. Press “Manual”, then press “Pressure” until the light on “High Pressure” lights up, then adjust the +/- buttons until time reads 10 minutes.  Cook.  Then very carefully, turn the vent to “Venting” for quick release, and wait until all of the steam has released and the valve has dropped.  Remove the lid.
  4. Stir in the kale and cream, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve warm, garnished with the bacon bits.

*Stovetop Version: If you would rather not sauté the onions in the grease, you can sub in 1 tablespoon olive oil instead.

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Recipe rating

115 comments on “Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copycat)”

  1. Delicious! Easy! So good!

    Added a little dill which was nice.

    Next time I might add some flour before adding the liquid to the onions to break up the fat a little. (I did not rinse my sausage!)

  2. Super easy to make! My family went back for seconds! I substituted fresh spinach for kale (forgot to buy). This recipe could be altered in multiple ways by adding pasta for potatoes, extra veggies or different protein and still be delicious.

  3. we added tortellini instead of potatoes and we added chipotle chili powder and it was DANK!

  4. Was good but next time I’m leaving out the onions. I used the crock pot method and had to add time, on high.

  5. Delicious!! Will be making again!

    • This is delicious and easy, but I cannot find the nutritional content. Specifically, I’m looking for carb count. Any help?

  6. Should I add some flour and if so when and how much? My soup was very watery. Is there a reason stock is added and then water? Doesn’t that make it more watery and in need of more salt added?

  7. I made this with Beyond Meat Hot Italian sausage. I sautéed the onions in olive oil and mixed in red pepper flakes for added flavor. I also subbed vegetable broth and mixed in some vegetable Better than Bouillon for extra flavor as I find vegetable broth a bit bland, but I’m vegetarian so it’s a must. Turned out amazing!

  8. Can I substitute something for the kale? Not a fan

  9. Easy to make and delicious.

  10. One word: awesome!

  11. I made this recipe for the first time last night and doubled it because I have three teens. I ran out of space in the pot when I was adding the liquids, so I ended up just using chicken broth and no water. That and not using the bacon are the only things I changed, and my family absolutely loved it. My 14 year old son said it was amazing, and everyone had seconds. It will definitely go into our regular rotation. I’ll definitely keep leaving out the water because the flavor really packed a punch, and I don’t want to dial it down.

  12. So good!!! I made it once with vegan sausage and it felt like it was lacking in the yummy oil from the sausage being cooked.. so made it with spicy Italian sausage (spicy was sooo good) and it really just made it so much better. Still felt like it was lacking some kind of herb or spice or something. We added Italian seasoning and it was delish!!

  13. I love this soup. Made as directed. Brothy creamy wonderfulness. We also make your copy cat Olive Garden minestrone. Delicious!

  14. I have made this recipe countless times, and everytime it turns out great!! This is so delicious that my husband always wants it. I use hot Italian sausage on the side…I don’t eat sausage but husband does, and I swap out the kale for baby spinach and it comes out perfect…we garnish with the bacon and fresh parmesan cheese…the parmesan goes so well with this soup…this is a brothy not creamy soup so it will be liquidy…but that’s what rolls and breadsticks are for….this recipe is definitely 5 stars in my house!!

  15. Awesome! It is fast and easy, my family loved it.

  16. Can you freeze this soup? I live alone and my waistline would expand greatly if I ate the whole pot!

  17. I love this soup so much! My Fiancé isn’t a fan of kale but he loves spinach, so I used it as substitute. I prefer kale, but it was still amazing ????

  18. This was really delicious. Big hit at the dinner table. I used mild sausage instead of spicy and a little more kale.

  19. I’ve made this several times, so it is a keeper. The sausage I use is not very fatty, so just added the aromatics directly into the pan. I’ve not been a fan of kale, so used spinach in the past, but today I have Tuscan kale, which I do really like, so am trying that variation. It’s a nice segue into fall.

  20. This recipe is so good, and very similar (if not better) to the Olive Garden version! Getting the hot Italian sausage is a must for flavor — I use turkey. I like using mini gold potatoes, sliced into circles, to better match the Olive Garden version.

  21. I have made this tons of times… I like use 8oz of bacon… I add the sliced bacon to the onions as they cook and then cook it with the rest of the ingredients..I reserve the other 2 ozs for the bacon bits on top.

  22. Soup is great. Now what do I do with all that leftover kale?

  23. Great recipe! This is sooooo delicious and comforting. It’s very flexible too, you could easily add extra potatoes or extra sausage if you want to bulk it up a bit! My family really loves this soup. Thank you for the inspiration!

  24. Do you have any recommendations for freezing this soup and instructions on reheating whenever ready to make? (: so delicious

  25. I have made this recipe many times. The only thing I do different is that I use regular breakfast sausage and I add more potatoes. This recipe is easy and very good. Even better the next day!

  26. This soup is in my top 5 favorite recipes of all time. I can’t eat at restaurants easily due to my celiac disease diagnosis. I’ve been trying to recreate my old favorites without gluten, and this was top notch. I made it in my instant pot. Creamy, rich, and better than the restaurant.

  27. Fantastic soup! This was easy to make and flavorful! I did use Spinach because it’s what I had, but it worked great. Thank you for a great, easy and delicious recipe!

  28. What is the size of your instant pot? Thank you

  29. This is so good! My daughter made it for us one night. I want to make it myself really soon!

  30. I made this last night, after seeing it posted on instagram..
    checked for all my ingredients and sadly realized I didn’t have any Yukon gold potatoes, but..did have Sweet potatoes!! OMG!
    Our new favorite!!

  31. Made this for my husband tonight, it was great! We tend to enjoy things spicier, so we added slap ya mammas and nashville hot chicken seasoning to taste! i subbed out the two cups of water for an extra half cup of heavy cream and it was delicious! my husband is already asking to make it again!

    most helpful thing was buying the steam-in-bag golden potatoes and put them in the microwave for 5 minutes while the sausage is cooking! makes for the softest potatoes!

  32. I made this with red skinned potatoes and added carrots thyme oregano and minced onion 🌰. SO DELILAH 😋

  33. I made this and it was SOOOOOOOO awesome and delicious I didn’t want to stop eating it 💖

  34. I made this recipe minus the bacon. I believe it’s better than Olive Garden. I doubled it for my sister’s family also. I didn’t add the red pepper flakes because I do not like spicy food. It has just the right amount of spice with the Italian sausage.

  35. I pour the sausage and the grease into the pot. Be careful washing the grease off your sausage in the sink. You pipes can get locked with the hardened grease. I keep the grease with the sausage because the spices in the hot sausage flavor the soup. It’s spicey but not too spicey! Loveit!

  36. I tried this recipe tonight and it was a big hit with my husband, who is normally not a soup lover. Warm, comforting… like a big hug after a long day. I will definitely keep this recipe in the family meal roaster!!! Thank you for sharing!

  37. Delicious and easy. Made it for a soup day at work. Everyone loved it.

  38. This was fantastic! My husband even asked to make it again and he’s a very picky eater. Thank you for an easy recipe that even someone like me can do.

  39. This soup is delicious! My entire family raved about it, even my picky eaters! We will definitely be making this again.

  40. Yummy!!! I made as written the first time and found it a bit too watery. So the next time I left out the water, I just added the 4 cups broth and 1 cup half & half and it was perfect!
    As another commenter suggested, I sometimes use tortellini in place of the potatoes and it is fantastic that way too.
    Sometimes I mix it up by using fresh spinach in place of the Kale. This is a fun recipe to play around with!

  41. Wow! This was awesome!! Of course I switched a few things up, but this was really out of necessity. I only had mild bulk sausage on hand, so to spice it up, while sauteing I added 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon oregano and a few shakes of red pepper flakes. This was perfection for us (though my husband did add more red pepper flakes to his serving of soup).

    Also, I added less liquid than called for and I am glad I did. I used 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth and 1/2 cup of half & half (as that’s all I had left in the fridge). The soup still had plenty of broth to enjoy and was the perfect consistency for us. We sprinkled parmesan cheese on top of the soup in our bowls and it was so delicious!!

    Give this one a try. It will now be a staple in our house. I also served this with some garlic bread – I had some leftover rolls that I cut in half, slathered with some butter, sprinkled on some garlic powder and placed under the broiler for a few minutes until golden. This went perfectly with the soup. Enjoy!!

  42. I made this soup and it’s really good but I would totally omit the water. I made it in the crockpot and there was way to much liquid. I added crumbled bacon and shredded Parmesan to each individual bowl. Also, added red flaked pepper. I doubled the recipe for six people and had leftovers. Wish it was a little thicker broth and next time I’ll thicken it with flour.

  43. I am making this for the second time. My question is can it be frozen and reheated for meal preps?

  44. Absolutely delicious. Exactly if not better than OG. Using kale from my garden is a bonus.

  45. I’ve been making this soup (not this recipe) for at least 15 years, I know for a fact that OG does Not use Onions they use Shallots The flavor of shallots is mild and sweet with just a hint of garlic flavor. Gourmet chefs love to use them since they don’t have the tangy bite that onions do. It is not just the taste that is different. Shallots grow differently from onions.

  46. I made this recipe for the first time tonight for my family and my brother’s sick family. I tripled the recipe and cooked it in my pressure cooker using homemade chicken stock. It was a huge hit with everyone! Very, very good! Thanks for a great recipe!

  47. This is now my FAVORITE soup! I think I could eat it everyday! WOW!

  48. Turned out delicious! I added zucchini and Shredded carrots. Definitely putting in single serving containers for work.

  49. Make this dairy free by adding a can (14 oz) of coconut milk! My friend LOVE this soup. I also add the Italian seasoning spice recipe from this site.